• Tell Pennsylvania's State Legislature: Our Kids Deserve Full, Fair Funding for Schools
    In the biblical story of Exodus, Pharaoh tells his field hands to stop giving straw to the enslaved Hebrews as they make the bricks to build his pyramids. “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks,” Pharaoh says. “Let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before.” (Exodus 5:7-8) The same thing is happening in Pennsylvania today – more and more is being demanded of our children across the state, but there are fewer and fewer resources to educate them. Our schools are underfunded and Pennsylvania has the largest funding gap between rich and poor districts in the whole nation. Meanwhile, families are asked to shoulder more and more of the burden for school funding. To get the to promise land of fairness and justice, we call on the PA State Legislature to pass a new funding formula this year (we’re the only state in the whole country without a fair and consistent way to decide how much funding our schools get!). We also call on them to have the moral courage to transform our tax system so we will have enough revenue to provide a 21st century education for all of our kids. As people of faith in Pennsylvania, we believe every child is made in the divine image and deserves our full investment. As people of faith in Pennsylvania, we say Never Again to our children dying during the school day without full-time nurses present. As people of faith in Pennsylvania, we demand arts, music, small class sizes, and all the resources that will allow our children to thrive, not just survive. We have enough resources to educate every child, so why are our public schools so underfunded? The answer is a deep moral crisis. Governor Wolf has proposed an increase in state education spending for next year… but it’s only 15% of what is needed to fully fund schools and it doesn’t undo shameful racial bias in how funds are distributed. And, at the same time that we are being told there’s only enough to fund a fraction of our children’s education, the Governor’s plan also proposes a decrease in taxes to corporations. That’s like telling the enslaved Hebrews there isn’t enough straw, while letting wealthy supporters hoard it. We need the Legislature to take the lead on full, fair funding that doesn't come disproportionately on the backs of our families. Since March 23rd, clergy, parents, and whole faith communities across the state have been fasting for a day or more to call attention to the urgent need for corporations to pay their fair share so we’ll have full and fair school funding. We’ll keep fasting until June 30th, the deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget. Show your solidarity with our fast by signing this petition and tell the Legislature to pass a moral budget. Our children deserve the resources to thrive – not to do more with less.
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    Created by Sheila Armstrong
  • Brooklyn College: Stop Defamation of Religion
    Pamela Geller is an infamous anti-Muslim zealot who instead of targeting extremists has made a career harassing mainstream Muslim Americans. Hatred against minority groups (Blacks, Gays, Jews and others) is increasingly unwelcome on campuses around the country. Unfortunately, Geller's organization, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), was designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) but that does not stop New York's MTA and other mass transit systems from accepting her defamatory ads on trains and buses and platforms. Despite mass transit's reluctance to post all the ads because of the trouble they could incite or provoke, courts have forced MTA and SEPTA (in Philadelphia) to post Geller's ads because of their readings of 1st Amendment protections. Sad to say, Geller and her lawyers have distorted the principles of free speech by ranging far beyond political critique to outright lies designed to equate Islam (a religion of 1.2 billion people) with Nazism and with Savagery. This campaign has a harshly negative effect on Muslims living in New York and in other locations featuring her messaging. nor is it conducive to encouraging Muslims to work in partnership to confront the challenge we all face. Such anti-Muslim prejudice is often cited as a reason for the worsening cycle of violence abroad, perpetrated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. For example, terrorist Anders Breivik referenced Geller's hate blog a dozen times in his manifesto before he killed more than 70 people in two attacks in Norway, seeking to justify his attacks. A clear link exists between anti-Muslim messaging and harassment. Students of Brooklyn college should be protected during this time and also hear a message of support from the President's Office. As an educational institution, Brooklyn College is a space for free debate but the school (its administration and the student community) should ensure a level of quality as well as accuracy of information. This can be accomplished through organizing debates on the claims and distortions made by Ms Geller and other Islamophobes; disseminating accurate information regarding diverse faith traditions, cultures and ethnic groups; and investigating any financial and social relationship between hate groups and the academic institution.
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    Created by adem carroll Picture
  • Cancel Student Debt from Corinthian College Inc. Fraud
    Corinthian Colleges Inc. isn’t a school, it's a fraud factory that buried vulnerable students, low income people of colour, veterans, and single mothers in unbearable debt. So why did the Department of Education bail them out while sinking students? Currently there are 107 (and counting) former Corinthian students demanding a full debt discharge not only for themselves but for the half a million other students Corinthian defrauded. As people of faith, our tradition of jubilee reminds us never to accept an economy that isn’t working for the betterment of everyone within their society. The Biblical call to debt forgiveness is more than just an economic safeguard, it is a sacred teaching - a reminder of how human economies drift toward inequity and injustice, and must be routinely checked in the service of all God's children. The fraud perpetrated by Corinthian Colleges Inc. not only represents clear abuses perpetrated against these particular students (which the Department of Education has the clear authority to relieve), it illustrates a much broader problem facing all student borrowers. An entire generation is sinking under the unreasonable burden of predatory lending practices, and the time has come for a fair debt cancellation process for all students. Inspired by the student debt strikers? Donate to their Strike Fund to support future travel and organizing: https://debtcollective.org/studentstrike#donate
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    Created by Rev. Michael Ellick
  • Gov Cuomo: Fully and fairly fund New York schools
    Decreases in state education aid since the 2008 recession have been devastating for our state's schools, leading to cuts in essential programs and staff in districts all over the state. For poor districts, which were already severely underfunded, the last seven years have been catastrophic. Inequality in our schools is now at an all-time high: our poorest districts get by on $8,733 less per pupil than our wealthiest. This is wrong. At a time when New York State spends $7 billion per year in tax breaks for corporations, we can afford to invest in education. Not only does New York have the resources to adequately fund our schools, it has the constitutional and moral obligation to do so immediately. This money should have no strings attached; it is public money which our schools need and to which they are entitled. To tie needed funding to unproven "reforms" that scapegoat teachers, rather than addressing underlying inequality and poverty, is unconscionable. For the sake of the well-being of our children and our communities, we call on you to prioritize our public schools and give them the additional $2.2 billion they urgently need.
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  • Discrimination and fear don't belong in our schools - Sign Now!
    San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has proposed that teachers and staff at Bay Area high schools within the Archdiocese accept “morality clauses” that condemn homosexuality as contrary to “natural law,” contraception as “intrinsically evil,” ordination of female priests as impossible, and use of assisted reproductive technology as a “grave evil.” Every staff member is expected to “conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths.” The Archbishop is also attempting to reclassify all Catholic school employees, including teachers, administrative staff, custodial and food service staff, as “ministers,” a move that could eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections for those staff members. Students need a safe space free of judgment and fear. Not only is the move completely out of step with modern Catholic teachings and beliefs, but we could lose some of our best teachers and staff.
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    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • RSVP: VOICE-Buffalo Public Meeting
    As people of faith we believe that we should be an undivided community. On August 28, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial, along with 250,000 religious and labor leaders calling for an end to racism, segregation and poverty, and to call for guaranteed civil and economic liberties for all. On November 6th join us at 7 PM Elim Christian Fellowship (70 Chalmers Ave., Buffalo 14214) as we bring our community together with our public officials for the 2014 VOICE Buffalo Public Meeting! You may have already heard, but if not, we have had some major breakthroughs recently and this year’s public meeting is one you can’t miss! The Sheriff’s office, Erie County Legislature and County Executive have committed to work together with VOICE-Buffalo and the community to reinstate the Local Conditional Release Program in early 2015. The Sheriff’s office, members of the Erie County Legislature and the County Executive will be joining us on November 6th to discuss the benefit of the Local Conditional Release Program and to share their commitment to its reinstatement. We are also in dialogue with the Sheriff’s office about creating a Restorative Justice program at the Alden Correctional Facility to bring trained community leaders to work with youth through restorative conferences and peace circles. We will also highlight the work and commitment of the congregations who are becoming ‘Peace Hubs’ by training facilitators in peace circles, restorative practices and community organizing. Please RSVP to join us on November 6th at 7pm, to build a bridge over the river of injustice.
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  • Tell Education Commissioner King to let the community into the conversation on December 12, 2013
    With the common core and high stakes testing effecting our education system and our children in Buffalo, we need officials to listen to our community. As parents, this is at the core of our hearts, and as Americans, this is at the core of our democracy. And Commissioner King has yet to hear the communities voices. We have called for him to hear our stories on may occasions and he has consistently gone to the surrounding areas but never giving the many people of this great city; who have been fighting for the educational equity for their students his time. Our laws call for community members and leaders to work together to shape our children's future. So this is why we need to be in a space where the Commissioner can hear what high stakes testing and the common core are doing to our students so we can start to get testing right. Please add your name by filling out the form to the right before our urgent deadline is December 11th.
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    Created by Shaketa Redden Picture
  • LIVE OUT THE VISION FOR A GLOBAL ETHIC
    Twenty years ago, more than 100 global faith and spiritual leaders declared a shared vision of the world’s critical challenges, and what we can do in harmony to eradicate these problems. While we celebrate this pioneering global ethic, the work toward true interreligious and human harmony continues. Our generation lives in the face of the same struggles: Continuous war, division, poverty, hunger, violence, ecological danger, and political dysfunction toward achieving true, lasting harmony. And yet, the world is still populated by a groundswell of caring, collaborative, and eager people. The innovators of contemporary interfaith trailblazed; their declaration to fix a world languishing presented a CALL TO ACTION we as millennials are better equipped to accept than any generation before. It is time for a fundamental change of hearts and minds, to act harmoniously with one another and our earth, transcendent of boundary and creed. THE GROUNDSWELL FOR A BETTER FUTURE BEGINS WITH THIS PLEDGE. SIGN AND DECLARE: We are interdependent. We take individual responsibility for all we do. All our decisions, actions, and failures to act have consequences. We consider humankind our family. We commit ourselves to a culture of non-violence, respect, justice, and peace. We must strive for a just social and economic order in which everyone has an equal chance to reach full potential as a human being. Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed first. We pledge to increase our awareness by disciplining our minds, by meditation, by prayer, or by positive thinking. Without risk and a readiness to sacrifice there can be no fundamental change in our situation. Therefore we commit ourselves to this global ethic, to understanding one another, and to socially beneficial, peace-fostering, and nature-friendly ways of life. WE INVITE ALL PEOPLE, RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL, AND ETHICAL, TO DO THE SAME. Signing is easy, but committing takes guts. Will you: 1) Commit to and sign the Global Ethic!* ( Full text of the Towards a Global Ethic declaration is downloadable by clicking on "Campaign website" on the left sidebar. 2) Share how you will live out the global ethic for a better future for all. 3) Start a conversation with your teachers, faith leaders, family partners, and especially those with whom you seek to find common ground: like your grandparents, co-workers, and in-laws! 4) Ask your neighbors to sign, too. Use Facebook, e-mail, and around the old-fashioned water cooler . Tip: If a debate erupts, steer the conversation toward your common core values. 5) Pick a partner, pick a common cause, and pick a time to act together. 6) Let go of hate. Live out the vision.
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  • Tell Education Commissioner King to listen to Buffalo on Aug 8th
    With so many critical issues facing our education system and our children in Buffalo, we need officials to listen to our community. As parents, this is at the core of our hearts, and as Americans, this is at the core of our democracy. Our laws call for community members and leaders to work together to shape our children's future. So do our faith traditions – in His Sermon on the mount, Jesus says that we must live into the law better than those who made it, to help the most vulnerable among us. It's why we call on Education Commissioner King to listen to our community's stories on August 8th before he decides the education budget August 12th. Stories like Elizabeth's – a Burmese parent and teacher's aid at Lafayette. She strives to speak English and communicate with her community the lessons in the classroom. She came to America with hope for the future of her children, a hope that is not limited to vocational training alone. Her hopes include the opportunity for her children to go to college. Commissioner King – you need to meet Elizabeth so you can hear about her dreams. Commissioner King also needs to hear the tragic story of Jawaan Daniels. As he left the Lafayette campus after being suspended in 2010, he was shot and killed at a bus stop. Jawaan was a freshman. He'll never have the chance to go to college. And his parents can never have their son back. As parents, pastors, and community leaders, we are fighting so what happened to Jawaan never happens again, and so mothers like Elizabeth can achieve the American dream for her children. It's why we're calling on Commissioner King to meet with us, so we can share our stories, and call on him to take action to: Restore full funding to Lafayette and East High Schools Fund restorative justice in both these schools, and Work with Lafayette to provide language access through translation Please add your name by filling out the form to the right before our urgent deadline August 8th.
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    Created by Louisa Pacheco
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